Meal Planning Hacks to Maximize Your Writing Time

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Writing can be a tricky business when it comes to self-care, and for me, that includes food. When I left my job at a nonprofit last summer and resumed working from home again, it only took me a few months to gain a quick 8-10 pounds. I was so focused on doing a good job at my new position that I was reaching for too many frozen microwave burritos, grabbing frappucinos on the fly or shoveling handfuls of crackers in between editing and writing articles.

Once I refocused my efforts on meal planning and eating healthy, I started to feel better, sleep better and craved fruits and vegetables in place of those salty and sugary snacks. But if I don’t have a plan in place, this can all go sideways. Here are a few of my meal-planning hacks to help you spend less time worried about food and snacks and more time writing.

1. Make your list. I use an app on my phone called AnyList, and I can keep a running list of things I need from the grocery store on it, as well as store my favorite recipes. Because I paid for the premium membership (still really affordable), I can share the app with my husband. Whoever is at the store can quickly check the list and grab that gallon of milk we’re missing. I use the list to plan out our weekly trip to the grocery store on the weekends.

2. Stock your refrigerator and pantry. Here are a few things you’ll always find in my kitchen: egg whites, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, non-fat Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, vanilla Greek yogurt for the other members of my family, bags of frozen fruit and vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower rice, canned beans and chickpeas, cartons of broth, a large bag of potatoes, brown rice, jasmine rice, and whole-wheat and regular pasta. Because I work from home, I often make a simple cheese omelet for breakfast, or eat plain oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter powder or Greek yogurt with frozen berries mixed in. I usually eat an apple for a morning snack and sliced cucumbers in the afternoon. If I make a batch of brown rice or whole-wheat pasta at the beginning of the week, I can quickly heat up a bag of steamed vegetables for a quick lunch or make a large batch of soup to eat on throughout the week.

3. Plan dinner ahead of time. A lot of times I’ll throw a simple meal together in the slow cooker after I’m finished with lunch. It will be ready in the evening, which gives me more time to work. Or I make sure to have ground beef defrosted and we can use that to make quick burritos or tacos on the nights we have a lot of activities in the evenings.

So, there you have it. Since I started refocusing on meal planning and stocking the kitchen, I’m less likely to overload on carbs and sweets when I’m in front of my computer.

What hacks do you have to make sure you maximize your precious writing time?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor who mostly works from home, except for the occasional meeting at a local coffee shop. Visit her website at


June Trop said...

A great idea, Renee, for all working women to maximize their time.The initial investment results in more productivity and more healthful choices.

Angela Mackintosh said...

My husband and I make a list with an app called Our Groceries - it's free and shareable. He does the majority of the grocery shopping while he's out. The app is so handy! :)

Before I was vegan, I used to subscribe to those home delivery meal kits and loved it. It's so easy and cheap and you don't have to think. I tried Home Chef, Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, and some others. I'd recommend them all except for Plated because it was too complicated. Home Chef being my top choice for the ease, price, and variety.

Great tips, Renee. :)

Margo Dill said...

I love this post. I am a huge lover of making a big meal and eating on it for several days. Thanks for the ideas. Sometimes, I think to myself: Why do we have to eat all the time? But then I'm always hungry.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I drink a Greek yogurt, spinach, blue berry, carrot and strawberry smoothie for breakfast. It fills me up, is nutritious, AND I can drink it on my way to work.

I'm trying to make more soups so I have easy things to eat. Also, if there is something semi-healthy to eat that can be warmed up quickly, I might not reach for something nonhealthy. (It doesn't always work. ;)

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